Monday, May 18, 2015

How to Keep Your Kids Entertained and Happy on Road Trips

Summertime is the perfect time for a family vacation. You can show your kids natural wonders or enlighten them with cultural and historic points of interest. However, whether you are traveling to the Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Yellowstone, or your family cabin up north, your memories can depend on how fun or how big of a headache the journey was. Below are some tips to keep your kids entertained and happy on road trips.

Help Them Visualize
Provide your kids with a map of your trip, pit stops included. It will help dampen the incessant “Are we there yet?” questions if your child can visualize where they are and where they are headed. Plus, being able to read a map is a useful life tip that they can learn. In addition to providing a map, give your child a briefing of the itinerary, such as how long the trip will be and how much time there will be between stops.

Set Expectations and Reward Good Behavior
Kids are never too young to learn a lesson. In addition to practicing patience, setting expectations on how to behave on a long trip can help your child practice good behavior especially if they are awarded. No complaining from “point A” to “point B” can be rewarded with an ice cream cone or control over the radio. Being helpful with siblings could be rewarded with getting first pick on which sight to see or pool time at the hotel. Remember that a little incentive never hurts.

Eat Well, Take Rests
For everyone’s sanity, make sure to make somewhat frequent pit stops. While trying to reach a destination as quickly as possible may be tempting, getting out of a stale car to stretch your legs will go a long way in maintaining a positive outlook for you and your kids. Think about eating healthy and non-messy foods—not just McDonald’s or gas station goods—to stay refreshed. Pack your own small snacks, maybe even meals, to satisfy your appetite and prevent overtiredness and crankiness. Nuts and dried fruit are portable snacks that provided a great pack of nutrients and energy. Also, remember the importance of water and staying hydrated. Stick with healthy habits on your trip because healthy kids are happy kids.

Be Prepared
Parents probably can’t stress this enough: be prepared for every situation. Prepare yourself for bored kids, tired kids, temper-tantrum-throwing kids, and sick kids. Have enough healthy snacks and a variety of medicine and vitamins in case you find a drugstore unavailable. Have each child bring a favorite toy, book, or blanket for some comfort away from home. This will go a long in helping everyone have the best time they possible can.

No, Really. Be Prepared
Pack activity kits for each child. App games and DVD players can be nice to distract your kids, but have a small variety of toys, paper activities, crafts, books, and games so your child can flex their creative minds. You can give them a new activity after every stop so they have something new to look forward to as well.

Simple tips and habits will help you and your kids have an excellent time on your family travels and will help to ensure exciting and hopefully, fantastic memories.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Delightfully Nutritious Meals for Kiddos

Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates Nutrition Month - 31 days devoted to helping people develop good eating and exercising habits, as well as learning how to make proper food choices. Though the month of March is over, it’s still important to teach your children about the significance of healthy eating.

To help your family on their journey to optimal health, we’ve made a list of 8 of our favorite healthy recipes, just in time for new spring produce to show up at your grocery store. And while some kiddos are picky eaters, it’s hard for any child to resist food that’s fun to eat!

Bright colors (and sprinkles!) make this bowl of fruit and yogurt look like a dessert that your kiddo will ask for no matter the time of day.

A deceptive pizza look-a-like, these dippers are a delicious healthy option! Utilizing the latest clean-eating trend of cauliflower, it’s easy to enhance this recipe for lunch, dinner, or snack time.

Talk about delicious! Casseroles are a Midwestern favorite for a reason. This quickie has only a few ingredients that are easy to find in your fridge, and it’s budget-friendly. Plus: it’s super cheesy, so children will love it.

This recipe is so versatile, it’ll be your new best friend. Fun flavors combine to create a delicious chicken that’s perfect as a starting point for tortilla soup, the stuffing of tacos and enchiladas, or the main dish itself.

Brinner, anyone? Using whole grain bread and non-sugared syrup is the key to making this old time favorite a healthy one. Your kids will love the dippable strips option, as well.

It wouldn’t be a list of food for kids if it didn’t include macaroni and cheese! Ditch the boxed brand and try your hand at homemade. Add veggies like spinach, peas, or broccoli for an added dose of healthy.

Another food that’s beloved by children, chicken nuggets have a bad reputation for being unhealthy to the maximum degree. But if you have a bit of patience, homemade chicken nuggets are a breeze, and a total kid-pleaser.

If your kids ask consistently to buy canned Spaghetti-O’s, try this version instead. Healthy, dairy-free, and lacking preservatives, this recipe might be the best thing that’s ever happened to your kids.

In search of more family recipes, craft ideas, or parenting tips? Follow us on Pinterest for content that’s updated weekly. If we missed a recipe you and your family love, post it in the comments!